Harold Jackson III
Harold Jackson III
Officer Greg Yelich, having been responsible for the shooting of an unarmed black man, is required to give his statement of events surrounding the fatality. The victim, Cordell Pierce was pulled over on his way to work - with his family in the car. Including a seven year old girl. After informing Yelich he had a licensed firearm, events escalated - ending up with Pierce being shot five times. As it so happened, Pierce's gun was in the glove box the entire time. With the media latching onto the incident, Greg Yelich is in the fight of his life - and agent Williamson is determined to find out exactly why this happened... and keeps happening. Harold Jackson's film is a character driven fiction, based on way too many true life events involving police shootings... of unarmed men or those who comply with police instructions - and get shot anyway. Did I mention that a vast majority of the victims are black? Oh... that's right. I didn't need to.
First and foremost let me say this. When watching an indie film, especially a lower budget or micro film, it's always an amazing experience when I stop thinking of it as an indie or low budget pic. Those moments when you forget you're even watching a film, and are just lost within the world presented on your screen. There are loads of excellent indie productions out there - but only a select few that really take hold and make you forget your own life for a short time. "Unarmed Man" is one of those. Maybe not one hundred percent perfect, but when you're truly enjoying a film, those little things don't matter at all.
Presented with a saturated, contrasted look, Jackson's film looks like it came straight out of the '90's early '00 era. Anyone who loved movies such as John Grisham's "The Client" will instantly feel at home with the pacing, look and even scoring of this film. Those old films are still personal favorites of mine, and perhaps that's why I fell into this flick as much as I did. With that said, even a person who has never heard of "The Client" will/should have no problem enjoying this one. It's just really good. Considering this is a dialog driven drama, the quality of the script and cast are obviously top notch. Handled differently, this movie could have been a boring disaster.
Speaking of the script and cast? Excellent. The narrative and conversations made this production not only feel real, but kept the energy up as the film moved towards it's inevitable conclusion. I use the term inevitable because anyone watching will no doubt know exactly what's coming. Just turn on your television, or visit your favorite social media source and you'll see "Unarmed Man" playing out again and again. The goodness in this film doesn't rely on the destination, rather the journey itself. Jackson has crafted a great script - and found a handful of people to execute it in an entertaining way.
Our leading cast mates Shaun Woodland and Danny Gavigan, do truly fantastic jobs in their roles. Playing off each other in a perfectly natural way. What really sells these two characters is their quasi-bonding experiences, as they push forward with officer Yelich's statement. Something missing in a good many films of this nature - that seem to forget that at the end of the day, everyone is human. "Unarmed Man" is littered with talent, and that also includes the supporting cast. Everyone had a character to play and did it accordingly. This production screams talent and passion through and through.
When it's all said and done, "Unarmed Man" earns it's points from the outstanding work of everyone involved. All levels of production seem planned and executed correctly - and smartly. No over the top scenes that would be impossible without a load of money, and no attempts at such scenes. As an extra bonus, viewers not only get to think about racial profiling, but also what happens when two people believe they are both correct - and were/are doing the right thing when confronted with a bad situation. Jackson's film is all about a persons personal belief, that not only are they good people - but that anyone would do what they did. Perhaps not for the bang, bang, blow things up every second action fan, but this one definitely worked for me. Four and a half stars.